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Mutterings from Providence

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One-sided Character Sheet Design, also Session Report for "The Ballad of Bass Rock"



In the course of developing a sourcebook for CoC in Ancient Mesopotamia, I procrastinated on writing actually useful content by making a character sheet with the skills and characteristics used by the adaptation. Feedback is welcomed! I am thinking of adapting this design to standard Jazz Age Cthulhu as an alternative sheet, because having all of the crucial things on one side is useful, I think. The back is always open for more freeform information, as well as items that don't always come up in play.




On an aside, I think that one of the things that I have learned while working on this text is how many questions I will need to answer. Currently, I am working on a scenario set in the time period to think through everything the sourcebook would need to consider - every time I have to ask a question about the location, or have to look something up about society or practices from that time period, it helps me flesh out what I need to include.


Session Report


As this is the week of Thanksgiving, we weren't going to have our normal Friday meeting. However, earlier today, some of my players contacted me to see if I would run a one-shot - being a glutton for punishment, I agreed and bit the bullet. I purchased The Ballad of Bass Rock (and given the quality, I will definitely work on getting more of Cubicle 7's Cthulhu Britannica line) and ran it for them.


Spoilers, of course, to follow.

It's a neat little one shot, and my players really enjoyed the atmosphere. We had a MP, a doctor (retired), a classical musician, and a tabloid editor. They were certainly surprised and shaken by the initial shipwreck, and took more than a few dings when they were crashed against the rocks. Upon reaching the shore, they made a beeline for the lighthouse and explored the interior. It took them all the whole (in-game) evening, and they managed to explore the basement and discover the ooze (the more experienced of my players told me later that they initially thought "Ooh! Slime! Shoggoth!" but then thought "that's far too big/scary/mean to have in a little one-shot like this.").


They also went to the castle, saw more slime, but while one group was doing this, the person that stayed back at the lighthouse, with the NPCs, heard the shoggoth returning to the lighthouse. The player told the NPCs to go up to the lamphouse while he investigated. Much ado resulted, and led to a period of kerfuffle when the other party returned to the lighthouse. Then, suddenly, they heard a scream from above, as the NPCs see the shoggoth exiting the building. The investigators explored further in the basement, and saw that there was more slime. Two of them peered through the door, and saw the shoggoth - one got blennophobia, the other was babbling, and it was in this reduced state the party went to sleep.


They were awoken at around 4 in the morning by a loud bang from down below - like storm doors closing. They go down to investigate, and they come face to face with a shoggoth. Running back up the stairs, they are pursued by it, and ineffectually attempt to light it on fire. Ultimately, they end up leaping from the lighthouse, and fall unconscious from the damage. One remains, and leads it on a chase up to the top of the tower, and then they jump, also blacking out as they fall.


In the end, they are dragged to safety by one of the NPCs, and the shoggoth was delayed by being constricted in the tower. The sun rises, and as they are woken up by the NPC, they see a strange, lumbering, submarine shape in the blue waters off the coast of Bass Rock.



And that's where I ended it. It turns out that while it was a bit more brutal than they expected, and perhaps than I intended, they all enjoyed it, and found it very atmospheric and evocative. I really like this sort of one-shot, where the players are both geographically and temporally constrained, and I felt that it made for a short-sweet scenario.



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